HONGKONG International Terminals Limited (HIT) says it is honoured to be the founding industrial partner of Vocational Training Council's (VTC) Industry Partner Collaboration Scheme for their STEM Education Centre.
HIT and VTC will jointly develop a Virtual Reality (VR) programme specially designed for container terminal, said the company statement.
This can provide an overview of the port operations and arouse the learning interest of our younger generations in this industry.
CONTAINER rail traffic between China and Europe will grow 71.7 per cent to 225,000 FEU from 2017 to 2020, having already grown from 7,000 FEU in 2010 to 131,000 today.
The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) study "Silk Road Transport Corridors Report of April 12 says container traffic spanning the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) may even double.
The EDB is a regional development bank established by the Russia and Kazakhstan in 2006. The Bank currently has six member states, including Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
There has already been a sharp increase in intermodal traffic between China and the EU, transiting via EEU countries, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, said the bank report.
Eighty per cent of deliveries are still made by sea. The growth of transit container traffic through the EEU depends on the development of trade between China and the EU, reports London's bne Intelinews.
The EDB report said EEU countries will need to expand their transport infrastructure and remove a number of barriers if growth of overland container traffic is to continue.
The expansion would be dependent on freight rates, which currently average at US$5,500 per FEU.
"Subsidy-driven reduction of China-Europe railway container freight rates by 30-50 per cent, has resulted in a 19-fold increase of container traffic," the report said.
Current rates encourage further growth of container traffic to 500,000 FEU in 2030, according to the report.
Growth rates are expected to decline after 2030 if not supported by lower rates as well as "investments in the "debottlenecking of the transport and logistics infrastructure" and "and international coordination of transport policies at the level of Greater Eurasia".
The EDB's most optimistic scenario sees aggregate container traffic along the route growing to 1.3 million TEU "in the long term".
Projections are in line with China's Belt and Road initiative, which seeks to turn much of the EEU into a transit hub for Chinese goods exported to Europe, said the bank study.
The EEU came into being in 2015 on the basis of a customs union created in 2010 and originally included Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus among its members - Armenia became a member of the free-trade bloc in January 2015, while Kyrgyzstan joined in August 2015.
SOARING fuel costs are hitting container shipping lines hard at a time when spot rates from Asia to Europe and from Asia to the US west coast are 30 per cent lower than 12 months ago, yet fuel costs have jumped by one-fifth.
Most carriers claim it is "too early to say" at what level rates will settle but concerns are mounting within ocean liners' management teams that the cumulative US$7 billion industry profit in 2017 could have been a one-off, reported UK's The Loadstar.
Speaking during Hapag Lloyd's 2017 results presentation, chief executive Rolf Habben-Jansen said new contracts on the route had been agreed at a level "on average somewhat better than a year ago," although it was not clear whether this took into account the higher cost of bunker fuel.
However, spot business makes up half of the total liftings on the trade and carriers cannot support any further rate declines.
On the other hand, there was better news for transpacific carriers, with the SCFI reacting positively to April 1 general rate increases, rising 19.3 per cent to the US west coast to $1,127 per 40 foot container (FEU), and gaining 11.1 per cent to US east coast ports to $2,148 per FEU.
The positive shift in the US trades last week was good news for carriers trying to negotiate improved contract rates from May 1, however, spot rates are still 31 per cent below 2017 levels for the west coast and 19 per cent lower for the US east coast.
THE US Federal Maritime Commission has announced that Cosco Shipping Co and Pacific International Lines (PIL) have added two Asia to west coast North America services to their existing slot exchange agreements.
Furthermore, Hapag-Lloyd, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Ocean Network Express (ONE) have amended their vessel sharing agreement to cover the transition period while ONE shipping lines, "K" Line, MOL and NYK, combine their container shipping operations, starting from April 1.
Accordingly, ONE has been added to the vessel sharing arrangement and Companhia Libra de Navegacao has been removed as a party to the agreement. The parties have requested expedited review from US authorities, reported American Shipper.
TAIWAN's Yang Ming, Hong Kong's OOCL and ONE, the Japanese start-up will launch an intra-Asia service connecting South China and Japan with Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.
The JMV (Japan-Malaysia-Vietnam) service starts April 11 with the northbound sailing of the 2,811-TEU YM Elixir from Shenzhen-Shekou bound for Osaka, Kobe, Nagoya, Yokohama, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Port Kelang, Singapore, Cai Mep, Shenzhen-Shekou, Hong Kong and back to Osaka.
The carrier group will launch a new service connecting South China and Japan with Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam starting in April, according to Yang Ming's online service schedules.
The JMV will operate with four vessels, one each from Yang Ming and OOCL and two from MOL, by that time part of the new Singapore-based Ocean Network Express (ONE), the merger of the Japanese Big 3 container operations - NYK, MOL and "K" Line.
According to ocean carrier schedule and capacity database BlueWater Reporting, the containerships will have an average capacity of 4,754 TEU.
LESS than two weeks after the fatal fire onboard the Maersk Honam in the Arabian sea, a fire broke out on another containership from the Danish shipping line, the Maersk Kengsington, heading towards Suez from Oman. It has since been contained.
The 6,188 TEU vessel reported a fire in a container in the cargo hold while enroute from Salalah, Oman to Suez last Thursday. The fire was contained using all the vessels CO2 systems and all 26 crew onboard are reported to be safe and accounted for. The vessel is currently anchored outside the port of Salalah, reports Seatime Maritime News of Colchester.
Maersk Line said the cause of the fire is unknown. "However, initial investigation indicate there is no link between the cargo in the cargo hold where the fire began on Maersk Kensington and the cargo in the cargo hold which caught fire on Maersk Honam on March 6, 2018," it said.
The 2007-built, Maersk Kensington is part of the US-flagged Maersk Line Limited (MLL) fleet. The vessel had 3,518 containers onboard corresponding to 5,616 TEU.
The container fire comes less than two weeks after a serious fire erupted on the 15,252 TEU Maersk Honam, leaving four dead, and another missing and believed dead. The vessel's crew evacuated the Maersk Honam after they were unable to bring the blaze under control.
The fire onboard the Maersk Honam has again raised concerns over the fire safety on container vessels and the misdeclaration of dangerous cargoes, although the cause of the fire remains unknown.
POLICE in Sao Paulo, Brazil are investigating the theft of an estimated US$5 million in cash which was due to fly from the city's Viracopos International Airport to Frankfurt aboard a Lufthansa freighter aircraft.
Local media reports said "the spectacular heist, which took place late Sunday, was completed in a matter of minutes, and authorities have yet to arrest a suspect".
It was reported that the gang entered the airport freight terminal using a pick-up truck on which they had "placed stickers mimicking the runway security company's logo," federal police were quoted as saying in a statement, according to London's Air Cargo News.
One of the newspapers reported that the gang had threatened security agents on the runway before taking off with the cargo, in barely six minutes.
A spokesperson for the German carrier's airfreight division in Frankfurt said: "Lufthansa Cargo confirms that there was an armed robbery at Viracopos Airport (VCP) in Brazil.
"The incident took place within the airport perimeter near the Lufthansa Cargo Freighter D-ALCF with flight number LH8263/04, with the destination Frankfurt (FRA) and a stopover in Dakar (DSS).
"The perpetrators robbed banknotes destined for the flight to Frankfurt. No people were injured. The plane started with a delay of about two hours to Dakar (DSS). Further details cannot be published at this time, as it is an ongoing investigation."
SEAFOOD from Pakistan is gaining in popularity in China, not only because of low prices, but also because of support from government policies, reports Lahore's UrduPoint.
A report from the UK-based undercurrentnews.com said that China had overtaken the EU and Japan as the largest seafood export market for Pakistan.
"Currently, domestic demand exceeds supply in terms of Pakistani seafood imports," Chen Hai'ou, president of Kashgar Mufeng and Hezhengyuan Biotechnology Co, told Beijing's Global Times.
Several seafood distributors said that Pakistani seafood, compared with seafood imported from other sources, is more cost-effective.
In recent years, the Chinese government has rolled out measures that have encouraged and facilitated imports of seafood from Pakistan and India.
One example is the establishment of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of a Belt and one Road initiative, which has enriched the transportation channels for Pakistani seafood entering China.
According to Mr Chen, in the past, Pakistani seafood could enter China only via sea or air transport.
But, after the corridor was set up, his company started importing Pakistani seafood by land transportation via Pakistan's Gwadar Port as well as via Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
"Pakistani seafood needs to travel only for three days via land transportation to China, compared with 40 days by the sea, so the cash conversion cycle can be much shorter," Mr Chen said, adding that the seafood will be sold in northwestern and southwestern regions in China.
Mr Chen also said that with the large demand for seafood in those regions, as well as the lower transport costs, more companies will engage in seafood trade with Pakistan.
"The business has a promising future," he said.
SHANGHAI Pudong Airport's passenger traffic is set to top that of Hong Kong International Airport this year or next, according to Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).
In the past Hong Kong's main contenders have been airports in Shenzhen and Guangzhou amid rising activity and growth in the Pearl River Delta.
The financial capital of Shanghai is now expected to record similar passenger traffic to Hong Kong, a milestone still beyond the reach of Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
A decade ago, Hong Kong International was 65 per cent larger than Shanghai Pudong. In 2017, Pudong narrowed the gap and Hong Kong International was only four per cent busier.
Long-term positioning is less clear as Hong Kong prepares for growth at a single airport, whereas Shanghai may shift growth to a number of new commercial airports.
THE Port of Los Angeles handled 808,728 TEU last month, the second-busiest January in the port's history behind last January's record of 826,640 TEU.
While a slight decrease compared to January 2017's record, it's significantly higher than the port's most recent 5-year January average of 683,003 TEU.
"After two consecutive years of record-breaking cargo, it's encouraging to start 2018 with robust volumes," said Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka.
"It's only the seventh time we have eclipsed the 800,000 TEU mark in a single month, and we're grateful to our supply chain partners for their continued confidence in our world-class infrastructure, innovative technology solutions and extraordinary customer service."
Strong January volumes are due in part to retail stores replenishing inventories after the holidays, and cargo ships calling ahead of the Lunar New Year, when goods from Asia slow down considerably.
January 2018 imports increased 1.8 per cent to 422,831 TEU compared to the previous year. Exports decreased 7.6 per cent to 150,035 TEU while empty containers decreased 5.2 per cent to 235,861 TEU. Combined, January overall volumes were 808,728 TEU, a 2.2 per cent decrease compared to last year, MarineLink reported.
SINGAPORE-based global ocean transport company AAL Shipping and Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) have teamed up to launch a multi-purpose service between Asia and the Middle East.
The joint Far East-Middle East service will operate on a bi-monthly rotation, deploying five multi-purpose vessels. The service connects China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore to the Middle East via the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, American Shipper reported.
"By pooling our resources with HMM, we can each offer more comprehensive service portfolios with improved frequency, capacity, coverage and economies of scale for our customers," AAL chartering and operations director Namir Khanbabi said.
"There will be no collaboration on pricing and we will each pursue bookings under our own respective brands, with separate commercial teams and bills of lading."
Mr Khanbabi added that the goal is to expand the service capacity to six vessels by 2019.
GROUND handler Swissport has secured a EUR325 million (US$406.69 million) financing commitment from Barclays to help the company acquire Aerocare, the largest handler in Australia and New Zealand. The deal is expected to close by March 7.
Swissport has also received a EUR52 million partial loan repayment from its parent, China's HNA Group, reported London's Air Cargo News.
A statement from the handler said: "The intention is for Swissport to partially refinance an affiliate loan to a subsidiary of the HNA Group with a maturity of May 7, 2018 in an amount no greater than the balance of the current affiliate loan, which is maturing on February 6."
Commenting on its funding from Barclays, Swissport explained that it had secured incremental term-loan B acquisition financing commitment from Barclays as the exclusive and sole underwriter and arranger in the amount of EUR325 million, to be "drawn on or shortly before completion of the acquisition."
Swissport last week announced plans for an initial public offering (IPO) in the second quarter and listing of its shares on the SIX Swiss Exchange.
It added: "The IPO will position Swissport for future growth with a diversified public shareholder base and significantly reduced leverage. The company is currently finalising the appointment of the global coordinators for the IPO."
THE French ports of Strasbourg (PAS) and Le Havre (HAROPA) have signed a cooperation agreement in rail, river and sea transport as well innovation and promotional activities.
Within the rail sector, PAS and HAROPA aim to create a scheduled and high-performance rail services to aid in diversifying regional seaports and facilitate cargo export by Rhine companies.
The port will seek to reduce congestion from mega containerships, which HAROPA has agreed to alleviate via rail services towards the east.
The two ports pledged to focus on the challenges to further connections to inland waterways, develop new rail services, deploying digital innovation to optimise cargo flows.
The two entities will also connect via HAROPA's EIG (Economic Interest Group), which has encompassed the ports of Le Havre, Rouen and Paris since 2012.
PAS is also developing a new container terminal in Lauterbourg, slated for opening in the summer of 2018.
"Together, we have to play a major part within the trans-European transport network by working on the development of the hinterlands, digitisation and visibility," said HAROPA executive Herve Martel.
"With this partnership we are building a bridge between the Seine corridor and the Rhine valley," said Mr Martel.
Said EIG deputy director Antoine Berbain: "The partnership with Strasbourg will allow for connecting two port systems at the leading edge of innovation, whether it is as regards port governance, environmental policy or logistics."
22 Jan, 2018 - Newcomer SM Line to launch new China-USWC service in May
SOUTH Korea's SM Line plans to launch its second Asia-US west coast service in early May. The announcement comes just days after the fast expanding shipping line's request to collaborate with Hyundai Merchant Marine was turned down.
The new weekly Pacific Northwest service will connect China to Vancouver and Seattle.
"This new service will further enhance our trans-Pacific service coverage and will underline SM Line's commitment to widen our North America presence," the carrier said in a statement.
Operated by six 4,000 TEU vessels, the service will start from the Shenzhen port of Yantian in the first week of May. The port rotation will be: Yantian, Ningbo, Shanghai, Pusan, Vancouver, Seattle, Tokyo, Pusan, Gwangyang, returning to Yantian.
The fledgling shipping line has made significant inroads on the trans-Pacific trades since it began operations in March 2017, reported IHS Media.
Since the carrier's launch it has transported 187,910 TEU and captured 1.6 per cent of the 11.9 million TEU imported through US west coast ports in 2017, according to PIERS, a sister product of JOC.com within IHS Markit.
However, SM Line's growing presence on the trans-Pacific trades was not enough to secure cooperation from HMM, which said earlier this month that it had received SM Line's formal proposal for unconditional co-operation.
HMM is instead believed to be making plans to cooperate with Israel's ZIM Line on US east coast services. HMM currently sends ships of 5,000 TEU from Asia to the US east coast every week.
SM Line has grown its operations so quickly that it will soon offer 10 weekly services: six in the intra-Asia trade, two in the Asia-India trade and two in the Asia-west coast North America trade.
More services will follow as SM Line aims to expand its current 50,000 TEU operated capacity at least four-fold, with new services lined up for the "near future" that will connect Asia to the US east coast, west coast South America, Australia, the Middle East and Red Sea.
THE rising expectations of customers for rapid delivery have resulted in companies scrambling for cargo space leading to soaring airfreight rates.
Companies are shipping more items by plane to meet customers' rising expectations for rapid delivery, prompting a scramble for cargo space that has sent airfreight rates soaring and pushed Amazon.com Inc and others into the airline business.
Global airfreight traffic climbed almost 9 per cent year over year in November, the start of the peak shipping season, and rates for airfreight were up 17 per cent annually for the month, the biggest price increase since the aftermath of the financial crisis, according to cargo data provider WorldACD, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The cause is twofold: As online shoppers come to expect faster home delivery of everything from smartphones to paper towels, passenger jets and dedicated cargo planes are picking up more kinds of cargo traditionally carried by container ships, trains and trucks. At the same time, strong global economic growth also is spurring demand for goods long ferried by air, such as automotive and manufacturing parts.
To meet the rising demand, Amazon is starting its own airline and some air-cargo operators are searching for older, idle jets to convert into freighters.
"You're literally begging and pleading to get on airplanes, leveraging any contact you can," said Neel Jones Shah, global head of airfreight for Flexport Inc, a San Francisco-based firm that helps customers arrange freight shipments online.
However, some analysts caution the pace of growth may slow in 2018, when year-over-year comparisons will be tougher given the market improvements over the past year. Still, growth "will be probably in the 4 per cent to 5 per cent range, because the outlook for industrial activity and trade in 2018 is pretty strong," said Tom Crabtree, regional director of airline market analysis for Boeing Co's commercial airplanes unit.
Demand for new smartphones from Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co last year pushed up airfreight costs. Elevated semiconductor shipments, an airfreight mainstay, also have been gobbling up cargo space. And increasingly, manufacturers are loading toys, clothing and other products onto planes to meet shorter delivery windows and leaner retail inventories.
Air-cargo executives expect the crush to increase their industry's share of global shipments beyond its current level of about 2 per cent. Already, air cargo represents about one-third of global goods shipments by value, because pricier, time-sensitive items such as fresh flowers and consumer electronics tend to be sent by air.
Chief executive of air-cargo specialist Air Transport Services Group Inc (ATSG), which flies cargo for DHL Express and Amazon.com Inc, Joe Hete, said: "We expect more profitable growth in 2018 and beyond as airfreight claims a bigger share of overall cargo volume to achieve ever faster e-commerce deliveries."
HUTCHISON Ports BEST Terminal in Barcelona set a new record for throughput this year, handling one million moves - equal to 1.8 million TEU - on December 15. The record-breaking container was loaded on the 13,800 TEU MSC Bettina operated by MSC.
"The new record highlights BEST's value proposition delivering the highest berth efficiency in the Mediterranean and the fastest delivery processes for trucks and trains," Hutchison Ports BEST CEO Guillermo Belcastro was quoted as saying in a report by Seatrade Maritime News of Cochester, UK.
"We will continue to improve the service we provide to our customers through further investments in equipment and technology," he added.
Hutchison Ports BEST is the first semi-automated terminal in the Hutchison Ports Group and the most technologically advanced port development project in Spain.
The port of Barcelona's container volume surged 33 per cent in the first 11 months of the year.
NORTH Carolina's port of Wilmington has become the first southeastern port in the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot programme to be granted permission to accept perishable goods that are midway through the two-week refrigeration process and then complete the refrigeration process in the terminal.
Other southeastern ports that participate in the USDA's programme are only allowed to accept goods that have completed the two-week refrigeration process.
Wilmington's reefer imports volumes increased by 18.6 per cent to 495 TEU in the first three quarters of 2017, compared to the same period last year, according to PIERS, a sister product of JOC.com.
Wilmington joined on December 1 the USDA's In-Transit Cold Treatment Pilot programme, which was started in 2013 and allows cargo to enter the participating ports after undergoing a two-week cold treatment process to safeguard against shipments bringing in fruit flies and other pests.
"We have been working hard to get this programme approved," North Carolina Ports executive director Paul Cozza was quoted as saying in a report by IHS Media. "Demand from our customer base is very strong and they wanted to see this capability for Wilmington move forward."
Wilmington has been struggling to recover cargo volumes lost in the collapse of Hanjin Shipping just over a year ago. The port handled 122,619 TEU in the first nine months of this year, representing a decrease of 28.8 per cent year on year.
Commenting on Wilmington's ability for partly refrigerated goods to complete the refrigeration process at the port, North Carolina Ports vice president Hans Bean said it "opens up a totally new dimension for our port and an option for importers to complete treatment after discharge, which is unique in the south and mid-Atlantic and only available at the port of Wilmington at this time".
The port expects the designation to significantly increase the number of direct imports of produce from across the Americas, including blueberries, grapes, apples, pears and citrus.
Port officials said Wilmington has ample refrigerated container capacity, with 300 plugs on terminal and the capability to add more. In addition to Wilmington's reefer capacity, the port is also home to a 101,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse located on terminal - one of only a few in-port cold storage facilities in the US.
THE Russian government has approved the establishment of a new rail cargo company that will be a direct competitor to Transcontainer, Russia's No 1 intermodal operator.
The new operator is expected to lower container rail rates in Russia 10 to 15 per cent, according to transport analysts.
Rail rates between Russia and China are currently priced between US$5,500 and $8,000 per container.
Transcontainer has dominated the Russian rail cargo market for the past several years. In the first nine months of the year, the company's container cargo traffic rose 17.7 per cent year on year to 1.31 million TEU, reported IHS Media.
Russian railway company RZD owns a controlling stake in Transcontainer. RZD operates 45 container terminals in Russia and 19 in Kazakhstan and has 67,000 containers under its management.
As a result, Transcontainer has been able to operate on most of RZD's rail routes linking China and Russia and has typically been the sole option for rail cargo delivery from the Asia Pacific to Russia.
The new operator will be able to compete with Transcontainer on most Asia-Russia rail routes.
Furthermore, Transcontainer will be sold to private investors no later than April, and the new logistics operator will be established by RZD from the private-sale funds and will function as a separate company.
An RZD spokesman said the company has enough skilled personnel to organise a new, full-scale logistics business, which will include both operator's services and forwarding.
The proposal has received the support of the Russian Federal Anti-Monopoly Service.
07 Dec, 2017 - Japan's trade surplus up 21pc in October, exports up 2pc
A WEAKER yen and healthy growth in China has helped push up Japan's export volumes, resulting in Japan's trade surplus increasing by a seasonally adjusted 21 per cent in October compared with the previous month.
October marked the 24th straight month of trade surplus and demonstrates how external demand has strengthened the economy after several rounds of monetary stimulus by the Bank of Japan weakened the yen, reported London's Financial Times.
Solid exports and robust demand from China suggest net trade will continue to support the economy in the fourth quarter and bolster the outlook for growth.
The figures indicate "its a clear recovery in exports to Asia", Barclays economists Yuichiro Nagai and Yukito Funakubo said in a note, with exports to China "continuing to show strong growth".
In October exports increased two per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis compared to the previous month, while imports were up 1.2 per cent. Compared with 2016, exports were up 14 per cent in value terms in yen, while imports rose 19 per cent, reflecting depreciation of the yen.
In volume terms, exports grew by 3.8 per cent compared to October 2016, while imports were up 3.2 per cent.
By destination, exports to China were up 26 per cent on a year ago, with Japan supplying much of the capital equipment to tool its manufacturing sector.
Exports of semiconductor equipment to China were up 123 per cent year on year to JPY67.6 billion (US$603 million); overall machinery exports increased 45 per cent; and vehicle exports were up 26 per cent.
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